New Jersey Files With Supreme Court On Sports Betting Issue

Posted By Jessica Welman on January 2, 2017

[toc]The state of New Jersey is keeping its dwindling hopes of legalized sports betting in the Garden State alive by filing a reply brief with the United States Supreme Court.

The brief comes over four months after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The law was passed in 1992 and explicitly outlawed sports betting in all but four states.

The last chance for New Jersey and Governor Chris Christie to get sports betting legalized is if the Supreme Court will hear the case.

New Jersey continues to challenge the legality of PASPA. In the new response filed last week, the state reiterates the idea that the law is a violation of states’ rights.

Brief comes after sports leagues filed paperwork opposing appeal

Earlier this month, the major sports leagues united to file paperwork asking the Supreme Court to let the Circuit Court’s decision stand. Even though NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has spoken in support of sports betting, the pro basketball league was part of the filing.

The next step is for the Supreme Court to meet and vote on whether or not to hear the case. That meeting is scheduled to take place on Jan. 13. At least four justices would need to vote in favor of hearing the case in order for the case to make the docket.

Several court decisions have ruled against New Jersey’s attempt to partially repeal the ban on sports betting. With little new evidence or conflicting opinions, the chance it makes it to the floor of the Supreme Court is slim.

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State won’t give up attempts to bolster struggling NJ casinos

The legal battle over NJ sports betting began in 2012 when the state approved sports betting via voter referendum. Gov. Christie signed it into law in early 2012 and local gaming control established rules for betting. One such rule is no one could bet on sporting events involving New Jersey colleges or collegiate events taking place in the Garden State.

The sports leagues sued and the law was struck down. The state then decided to repeal existing laws on the state books banning sports betting.

The hope was that repealing rather than creating new laws could circumvent questions of constitutionality. The repeal was also struck down in court and upon appeal.

Now the highest court is the only chance left for New Jersey and sports betting. Gov. Christie, long a supporter of NJ gambling, remains optimistic sports betting will be legal in his state in 2017.

The complete lack of support for his side in the courts so far seems to say otherwise.

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Jessica Welman

A graduate of USC and Indiana University, Jessica Welman has long been involved in the poker industry and online gambling. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and as the managing editor for WSOP.com.

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